DAYTON, Ohio, June 17 (UPI) -- A 12-year-old boy in Dayton found a mummified corpse hanging by its neck in a closet that authorities believe to be a long-unnoticed suicide.
"My son came home and he said to me that he had gone into an abandoned house and he found a body. And I said, 'Wait what?"' Michelle McGrath, whose 12-year-old son found the body, told local reporters.
While exploring an abandoned house Sunday, McGrath's son discovered the seemingly preserved remains of Edward Brunton hanging from a leather belt wrapped around his neck.
"When he first came across it, he thought it was a dummy, or a mannequin or something," McGrath said.
Montgomery County coroner Kent Harshbarger confirmed that the body had been dead for about five years, despite its relatively fresh appearance.
"Because of the location where he was found, it was relatively protected, sunlight protected, temperature protected and low humidity," Harshbarger explained.
"He was found suspended from the neck from a belt in the closet. It appears to be a suicide."
In 2009, estranged from his family and friends, Edward Brunton bought the Dayton home that would serve as his half-decade tomb. Brunton, then in his late 40s, is believed to have killed himself shortly thereafter.
Having never grown acquainted with his neighbors and lacking any contact with his close relations, Brunton's suicide went unnoticed. Neighbors came to believe the home was abandoned, since it was plagued by overgrowth, lack of upkeep, and unpaid taxes.
Brunton's body had identification documents on it and his brother confirmed the identity. Although all signs point to a suicide, police will investigate to be sure.